[Plant] – Day 0 – I got a real plant!

I have received a plant as a gift! The person who gave it to me was pretty vague about what’s in it 😛

What she basically did was: Here you go Jacky!

*hands over the pot with two hands*

*smiles*

 

What’s planted inside? A seed? An amputation from another plant? Or is it just mud? Well I guess we will have to find out the long way

Incoming hurdles:

How much do I need to water it? How to take care of a plant in general?

My place doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, nor does Edmonton in general during the winter. My room is so poorly lit that my flip flap rarely flaps.

Made a pebble watch face!

Programming the Pebble:

This semester has been all economics for me, so sometimes the computer science side of me gets a little bored and is itching to do some programming. One day I looked at my pebble and went: “Hey, why don’t we do some programming on this thing?”

Programming the pebble is easy, all you need to know is C. Using the cloud IDE the work flow goes something like this:

Computer (Web IDE) >> Pebble server (Compile) >> Phone (receives compiled code OTA) >> Pebble (receives code from phone via BT)

Easy

Watch face design:

Inspired by the movie “In Time” I made a pebble watch face that counts down the number of hours and minutes till I sleep.

Disclaimer: I’ve never actually watched the movie, but from the movie trailer, it looks like time was used as a currency. Want to buy something? It’ll cost you time. Getting paid for work? You get more time. You run out of time? You die.

Hmmm interesting concept… but that’s really harsh. So here’s my version: the watch counts down the time till I sleep and when you run out, it reminds you to sleep and resets the timer for the next day.

Here it is in action:


I have one minute left that day


Once you run out of time, it reminds you to go to sleep.

Thoughts about using this watch face

Unsurprisingly, it made me realize how little time I have. Every morning I wake up with about “16-18 hours left”. With this in mind, I treat my time a little more wisely than before.

A reality check comes in when the watch starts showing single digit hours such as “9 hours left”. At this point I start feeling the pressure, I keep thinking: “The day is about to end, quick finish the task now!”

A kicker comes in when the watch is showing hours left, such as “3 hours left”. At this point I start paying attention to the minutes. My thoughts would go something like: “Okay its 3 hours and 32 minutes, not 3 hours, day’s not over yet!”

Last couple minutes is probably where all the tension goes away. My thoughts at this stage would be: “Oh well, couple minutes left, what can I do?”

It’s really interesting how a simple change in perspective of time can do mentally.

Road trip to Sherwood Park, by bike

This year, university has decided that a fall reading week will be implemented on November 9-13. What does that mean for me? Holiday! No, not really, I still need to study up, read some textbooks and write an essay. But hey, I thought it would be nice to take a small breather and go on a one day trip to Sherwood Park.

Bike is in good shape, all the parts have arrived and have been installed. My helmet arrived a while ago. The weather is great. A week long break from school. The stars have aligned so to speak.

The plan: A nice almost straight 15KM ride leaving from downtown


What happened: I got lost, kept getting lost and made it 20KM instead


Oh well 😛

First incident – After 5km


Hitting Edmonton pot holes @ 40km/h + gear shift = Derailing the chain.


In anticipation of a breakdown, I brought some tools with me on the trip. I was able to pry the chain out and put it back on.


Fixing a bike can get messy! (Especially when you are dealing with chains and gears). So I’ve also brought some water and tissue paper for some after repair clean-up.

Arrival – After 25km

The bike operated smoothly after the first incident. I am feeling mixed about pumping up my tires to 50psi prior to the trip. On one hand I am biking on the road and will benefit with a harder tire. On the other hand the roads are so rough… But I made it to Sherwood Park nonetheless!


Welcome to Strathcona County


The view looking back

I am hungry – Sumo Sumo

I haven’t ate breakfast nor lunch, its 3PM, just biked 25km, brain is screaming “Empty!” (Thrill Drive reference haha) I’ve never been around Sherwood Park before, but I heard there was a Japanese restaurant around called Sumo Sumo


Two more kilometers? Okay, this better be good. Brain continues to repeat: “Empty! … Empty! … Empty! …”


I have arrived! This place looks better than I thought. Looks a little fancy too, hopefully my credit card can handle this meal

What do you call a lunch + dinner, a dunch?


Sashimi pizza – 15CAD

It is really hard to go wrong with this. I like sashimi pizzas a lot, like a lot, a lot. I haven’t seen this dish in a while and I don’t understand why sushi shops don’t make this. Last time I had something like this was in a place in Macau. (鮨味亭 /Sushimitei @ 海富花園)

My thoughts:

+ The pizza part (deep fried sushi rice) was as good as anticipated

+ The sauce

* Avocado – I personally don’t like it but others might

– Sashimi – This is probably where most of the cost is, yet it is the most disappointing. A lot of the stuff tasted really bland, by taste I probably couldn’t tell that there were six different types of sashimi here. Most importantly, the salmon. I’ve tasted better salmon at almost every price point. Seeing how this area is mostly what you are paying for, this is disappointing.

Logical score: 3/10 – Most of your 15 dollars is probably spent in the sashimi, and it was disappointing. The pizza part is nice and so was the sauce which saved it from a 1/10.

Personal score: 5/10 – I went into this dish mostly for the pizza part, so what I would do next time, if there is one, is order a pizza with a different “topping”.


Sukiyaki beef bowl – 11CAD

I had to eat something more filling… I still have a 20km ride back. So this is my attempt at ordering a relatively economical, high food per dollar ratio dish.

My thoughts:

+ Surprisingly adequate portion

+ The sauce

– The beef – I can’t taste the difference between this and paper

Logical score: 4/10 this is 11 dollars, the beef shouldn’t taste like paper. The generous portion, good sauce and healthy amount of vegetables were good. But for 11CAD you can do better in a Japanese fast-food chain, which is why I am failing it.

Personal score: 5/10 – I was decently surprised by the portion I got, I was hungry and I needed food pronto. Under that circumstance, it is passable.

Sumo Sumo final thoughts:

The general trend is, don’t expect the meat or sashimi to do miracles here. The sauce is the magic. Most of my complaints boil down to the price, it is priced too high for a relatively average dish. It should be noted that they have an All You Can Eat on Sundays for 35CAD. I haven’t tried it as I went on a Saturday. However, given the relatively good restaurant environment and the value proposition of an All You Can Eat, this place *might* be worth it.

Sherwood Park Mall:

Just a typical mall, but with a few brands that I’ve never seen in Edmonton. Nothing surprising here.

Sunset @ 5PM – Going home

Oh crap! I totally forgot that the sunsets a little earlier and now I have to ride back at night. My #1 concern? Riding in the dark next to trucks that have two-digit amount of wheels. Parts of the road was not even lit due to construction. Every time I saw a shadow of myself I took a deep breath as that meant a car / truck / 18 wheeler is behind me thinking what is this idiot doing on the road. Obviously I made it (or else I wouldn’t be able to post this) but phew, that was risky.

Conclusion:


Total travel distance: 58.6km, includes getting lost.


Did ~40km/hr on a maximum 60 road.


Total moving time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

That was fun! Probably wouldn’t do it again, but great experience. After this, I am a lot more confident in city traffic 😛

Telus… really? #2

The thing is, I currently have a bonus 2GB data as long as I don’t go on contract.

Given my current situation, Telus, let me help you rephrase this:

TELUS Exclusive: Jacky, to thank you for being a loyal customer, you’re being rewarded with an exclusive downgrade offer. We’ll give you $50 off select smartphones on a 2 year term given if you if you agree to the following:

Drop your grandfathered plan (200min call / unlimited sms / 1GB data). Drop your month-to-month bonus of 10% off. Drop your existing free benefits such as +2GB data + 30min Canada wide.

Your current plan: 230min call / unlimited sms / 3GB data for 49.5cad/month which is priced dangerously comparable to Wind (a discount carrier in Canada).

Instead we would like you to sign on to a two-year contract with us with a minimum 70cad/month spending. In order to give you a similar experience, here is a plan that is worse off and more expensive.

Telus Your Choice Plan (2015): 300min call / unlimited sms / 2.5GB data for 85cad/month.

But! You get a new phone!

Assuming that I do want a new phone, say an iPhone 6s…

Doing the math, over the course of two years I would pay an extra (85-49.5) x 24 month = 887.5CAD.

Under a two year contract, you can get a new phone at a “discounted” (read: not really discounted) price ranging from free ~ $600CAD+. Since we assume we want an iPhone we will use $400CAD. That will get you an iPhone 6s 16GB with Telus. (2015)

Oh of course, let’s not forget we get that “nice” $50CAD bonus, so -$50.

Total extra cost = 1237.5CAD

At this price, you can buy basically any phone you want direct from the manufacturer. For example, an iPhone 6s 128GB will cost you 1159CAD if you buy directly from Apple.

Yes, for the price of a Telus iPhone 6s 16GB, you can get an iPhone 6s 128GB from an Apple store and still save 78.5CAD! (Enough to buy a nice case + screen protector!)

Being direct from the manufacturer, it will also be an
unlocked phone so it won’t be stuck to Telus.

In the long run I would:

Lock myself into a two year contract with Telus

Get an iPhone 6s 16GB from Telus

End up with a phone that is locked to Telus

End up dropping my previous plan for an inferior one

When this makes more sense:

By not signing a contract, the freedom of month-to-month payment so switching carriers is easy

Get an iPhone 6s 128GB from Apple directly and still save 78.5CAD

End up with a phone that is unlocked so again switching carriers is easy

Continue with my current plan that I am happy with

Telus… really? #1

True story, you can’t make this up 😛

A Telus loyalty rep called me a while ago, here’s how it went:

Telus rep: Hi! I am <I forgot the name>, a Telus loyalty representative, I am calling in just to make sure everything is okay!

Me: Okay…?

Telus rep: What phone do you currently have?

Me: Oh I have a Galaxy S4

Telus rep: Great! If you sign-on to a two year contract, we can give you a Galaxy S3 for free!

Me: …uhh I have a Galaxy S4

Telus rep: Oh yes, that is a great phone! But we can give you a Galaxy S3 for free

Me: … *thinks to myself* this conversation is not productive anymore… *face palms*

Uploads incoming

There will be a surge of posts coming soon. Most of them are written sometime in the past but I will be using them to test out posting and stuff.

You may ask, this is WordPress Jacky, what is there to test?

This WordPress blog is actually running on a LAMP stack server on a VPS. What does that mean? For me? (Near) absolute control. For you? No ads (until I decide otherwise :P) and a cool domain name to type in the url bar (hint: jacky.xyz).

“With great power comes great responsibility”

Yup, having all that control means that if something breaks, it’s my responsibility to dive into the code and fix it. Good thing is, I can start working at a problem whenever I want. Bad thing is, I start working at the problem when I want to. But the first step is identifying the problem first, hence the test.

But my test cases are not perfect and here’s where you come in. If you find a problem with the site, please send me an e-mail at jackyxyzmail@gmail.com!